Vote no on 5B
Some residents call it the Taj Mahal, and others call it MTB for Money To Burn. What is it? The very expensive Four Mile Canyon Fire Station. And now, residents of Four Mile Canyon are being asked to greatly increase our property taxes.
If ballot initiative 5B passes, Four Mile Canyon property taxes will be much higher than all neighboring mountain towns, including Sunshine, Sugarloaf and Gold Hill. But they don't have such a brand new large and fancy fire station or a paid staff. Four Mile overspent and mismanaged funds. Sunshine, Gold Hill and Sugarloaf are all volunteer fire departments. Why should Four Mile have paid fire fighters? Mixing volunteer with paid staff obviously isn't fair to the volunteers and creates resentment. If we don't have enough volunteers, that is the reason why.
On the whole, Sunshine is a wealthier canyon, but they will pay 89 percent less in property taxes than we will. Gold Hill will pay 240 percent less and Sugarloaf will pay 133 percent less. So I guess if you feel richer than the residents of those canyons and didn't mind the 30 to 38 percent increase in assessed value, vote for higher taxes.
Boulder County property taxes were assessed 30 to 38 percent higher last year. Why is now the time for each of us to pay even more? According to the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Election Division, you will be taxed $10.80 per $1,000 assessed value every year to have the only paid firefighters in the area. So if your property is assessed at $500,000, you will pay $389 next year and it will go up every year your assessed value increases.
Vote no on 5B on the tax increase for Four Mile Canyon. Let us be like the other canyons in Boulder County and have a volunteer fire department.
John and Genna Miole, Boulder
Sleight of hand
Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract attention from another thing. Managing the audience's attention is the basis of theatrical magic and illusion.
Although they are not magicians, several opponents to Boulder's local electric utility option have been using misdirection in spades.
They vociferously worry about the debt that the city might take on, should voters approve purchase of Xcel's system. They want you to ignore that our electricity bills right now include interest on roughly $350 million of capital for the current system. It's not free. Xcel's average cost of capital is 6.8 percent (including 9 percent to shareholders), while Boulder's borrowing costs are much lower. But don't look there.
Professing concern about climate change, they tell us working with Xcel will meet our goals. Meanwhile, Xcel still plans to be 45 percent fossil-fueled in 2026, 23 percent coal, while running its coal plant for another 50 years. But don't look there.
On one hand, they claim we could do better working with Xcel like Denver, but they ignore the other hand where Denver's "plan" is simply a goal with no details. Boulder's plan is detailed and actionable. They want you to ignore the fact that repeatedly trying to work with Xcel got us nowhere. And Boulder keeping a community power option available gives Denver leverage on Xcel. But don't look there.
They say they are concerned about rates. Meanwhile, Xcel is planning to increase its base rates over 9 percent, proposing a 14 percent overall increase through 2021. But don't look there.
They proclaim better, cheaper ways. Yet they haven't presented any detailed costs or plans. But they hope to keep your eyes where they want them.
Don't be fooled. Vote yes on 2L, 2O, and 2P.
Tom Aspreym, Boulder